Khon Kaen gets bad rep as Ponzi haven

Khon Kaen gets bad rep as Ponzi haven

Victims of a Ponzi scheme have asked the police to arrest the Khon Kaen-based female mastermind behind the scam who allegedly swindled them out of 40 million baht.

Their accusation puts the northeastern province in the spotlight after a similar complaint was filed with local police last week.

In the latest case, the woman's name was not revealed, but a complaint lodged with the Crime Suppression Division on Monday described the suspect as a 46-year-old Khon Kaen resident whose husband works with a bank.

The woman used her husband's status as a claim of credibility, said Nuengruthai Hicks, one of the victims lured via Facebook.

This was the main reason people dared pour their money into the scheme and even increase their investment over time through various channels including gold trading, she said.

The suspect promised high returns on the basis investors put in money every day, Ms Nuengruthai said.

In the beginning, members were happy to receive their dividends, she said, adding some invited their friends and associates to join the programme.

At its peak, the number of "investors" exceeded 300. They were divided into various groups.

Ms Nuengruthai said she and other victims did not realise they had been duped until late last month when the suspect failed to hand out any money to group members.

The alleged mastermind claimed she was suffering "liquidity problems" and asked for 21 days to resolve the issue by seeking bank loans. She subsequently vanished.

Earlier, 40 people in the province filed a complaint with Muang district police claiming they had been cheated out of more than 20 million baht by another Ponzi scheme operating online that is believed to have been partially run by a senior police officer.

The victims claim all dividends stopped on Sept 10.

They said that as of that date no one to their knowledge had been able to contact any of the people running the scheme.


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